Students Excel at National History Day Regional Competition

Congratulations to the 44 talented and dedicated University School of Milwaukee students who participated in the National History Day (NHD) regional competition at UW-Milwaukee on March 9. This year’s theme was Triumph and Tragedy in History. Students needed to explain why their topic was important, and how their topic changed history in some way. Students could present their work in one of five ways: as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a website.

In total, USM 8th-grade students claimed 22 of the 27 spots—the most by any school, and the most in USM’s 14-year NHD history—in the southeastern region to move on to the state contest, with three alternate commendations. More than 200 middle school students from across Milwaukee participated.

“All of our students demonstrated a passion for the research, creativity and critical thinking in their projects, and awesome presentation skills in their interviews,” said Chuck Taft, 8th-grade American studies teacher and History Department Chair. “Multiple people within the NHD circles remarked how impressed they were with our kids’ work. Laurie [Walczak, 8th-grade American studies English teacher], Francine [Eppelsheimer, Middle School librarian], and I are so proud of this crew!”

Qualifiers will compete at the state competition on April 13 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Results (8th Grade):

INDIVIDUAL DOCUMENTARY
STATE FINALIST: Alexandra Berryman: Aretha Franklin and the Civil Rights Movement
STATE FINALIST: Talia Ciralsky: MKULTRA: The CIA’s Legacy of Mind Control
STATE FINALIST: Adam Cotton - The History of Leaded Gasoline
STATE ALTERNATE: Jackson LaManna - The P-51, the Downfall of Nazi Germany
William Guy: Liberating Sainte-Mere-Eglise

INDIVIDUAL EXHIBIT
STATE FINALIST: Margot Ferrer - Agent Orange: A Chemical Chain Reaction
STATE FINALIST: Hunter Kauffman - The Product of Tragedy
Lucy Art: "Father of the Air Force"
Roman Westveer: Fire On the Mountain
Ava Dyke: The Angels of Bataan

INDIVIDUAL PAPER
STATE FINALIST: Sofia Lew: Destiny over Decency: The Annexation of Hawaii
STATE FINALIST: Maddie Miracle: Terror and Tragedy in the Osage Valley
STATE FINALIST: Dominik Nikolic: Yugoslavia During World War Two
STATE ALTERNATE: Inga Lofgren: Kalaupapa: The Prison Fortified by Nature
Jordan Thomas: The My Lai Massacre

INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE
STATE FINALIST: Evelyn Graham: Nellie Bly Behind Asylum Bars
STATE FINALIST: Lauryn Dixon: Patron Saint of the Rebellion
STATE ALTERNATE: Margot Robinson: Barks of Glory: The Military Working Dogs of Vietnam

INDIVIDUAL WEBSITE
STATE FINALIST: Nathan Miller: Isaac Cline: Tragic Natural Disasters Leading to Triumphant
Weather Forecasting
STATE FINALIST: Sarah Bentley: Travis Roy, Triumph After Tragedy
STATE FINALIST: Julius Zakaria: Keeping the Culture

GROUP DOCUMENTARY
STATE FINALIST: Ronan More O'Ferrall and Max Watchmaker: The Irish Potato Famine, from oppression to opportunity
Ian Birchall and Emery Endres: What's a Woman Doing Here

GROUP EXHIBIT
STATE FINALIST: Cassidy Cleveland and Regan Staudt: The All-American Redheads: Barnstorming Stereotypes and Paving the Way for Women
STATE FINALIST: Einthiri Mudili, Mara Sadek, and Isabella Vesely: Federal Project Number One: Pursuing Creativity During a Time of Tragedy
STATE FINALIST: Will Berrien, Jack Klemen, and Christian Hamilton Jones: Sunrise Over Iwo Jima

About National History Day
National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded academic organization for secondary school students. Across the nation each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers, participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These entries are entered into competitions during the spring at local, state and national levels, where they are evaluated by professional historians and by other educators. The program culminates in a national competition each June.
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